Product photography by Dan Bracaglia
The Fujifilm X-E4 is a lightweight, rangefinder-styled camera built around a 26MP APS-C sized sensor that uses the company’s X-mount lineup of lenses. Billed as a fun-to-use and compact photographic companion, the X-E4 is the smallest X-mount camera on the market, encouraging you to keep it around wherever you go.
With Fujifilm’s latest sensor and processor combo, the X-E4 inherits a lot of the goodies from the most recent Fujifilm cameras, including updated autofocus, solid video specs and really impressive burst shooting rates. And if you’re a JPEG shooter, you now have eighteen of Fujifilm’s excellent film simulations to choose from.
|We’ve always found the X-E series to be a fun companion for photo walks. Out-of-camera JPEG shot using the Provia or standard film simulation.
ISO 160 | 1/480 sec | F8 | Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R
We’ve been fans of Fujifilm’s X-E series going back to the original Fujifilm X-E1. We enjoy the size, controls, and styling – and of course, the image quality. But since the release of the X-T3, the first Fujifilm camera to use the newer 26MP sensor, the X-E series has lagged behind the updates in other areas of Fujifilm’s lineup, so we were glad to see the X-E4 announced with the latest tech.
- 26MP APS-C sensor with X-Trans color filter array
- 3.0″ tilting touchscreen with 1.62M dots (can tilt up 180 degrees)
- 2.36M-dot electronic viewfinder, 0.62x magnification
- DCI 4K/30p, 4:2:0, 8-bit internal video recording (4:2:2 10-bit over HDMI out)
- Full HD video at up to 240p, for 10x slow motion
- 8 fps burst shooting with mechanical shutter (20 fps with electronic)
- CIPA rated to 460 shots per charge (NP-W126S battery pack)
- 121mm x 73mm x 33mm
- 364g (12.9oz)
On the inside, the X-E4 is more or less a Fujifilm X-S10 (and therefore much of an X-T4) minus the image stabilization Does it have what it takes to be considered for your next camera purchase? Let’s find out.
The X-E4 is available now at a price of $849 body-only, and $1,049 when kitted with the XF 27mm F2.8 II pancake prime lens.
What’s new and how it compares
|The 26MP sensor at the heart of the X-E4 is excellent, offering great dynamic range and fast readout speeds.|
Relative to the Fujifilm X-E3, the X-E4 brings a suite of updates, the most important of which is the latest 26MP X-Trans sensor and quad-core X-Processor 4. This means the image quality and, in some cases, performance of the X-E4 will be a match for the best that Fujifilm has to offer in its X-mount lineup. The camera’s body and controls have also been slimmed down relative to its predecessor, but we’ll delve into those details in the next section.
That 26MP sensor brings with it really solid image quality, a native base ISO of 160 (down from 200 on the X-E3), and super-fast readout speeds that let the X-E4 fire away images at 20 fps with the electronic shutter (or 30 fps if you opt for a 1.25x crop). You also get super-fast electronic shutter readout that tops out at 1/32,000 sec, which is handy for shooting wide-open in bright daylight if that’s your thing.
We’ve found that Fujifilm’s film simulation options can really alter the ‘feeling’ of a scene. Out-of-camera JPEGs.
ISO 640 | 1/32000 sec (yes, you read that right) | F1.4 | Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R
Fujifilm’s DR400 mode was enabled, which raises the effective base ISO from 160 to 640.
The quad-core processor keeps everything moving pretty swiftly, and though you’ll want the fastest memory card you can afford for those bursts, you won’t gain any benefits from faster UHS-II compatible cards with the camera’s UHS-I slot (it’s still a good investment to get the fastest UHS-I card you can, though). The X-E4 also comes loaded with Fujifilm’s latest film simulations, including Eterna, which is a favorite for video recording, as well as Classic Neg. And being able to re-process Raw files in-camera to try out the different film simulations is a fun way to find what looks you like best.
You also get an updated autofocus system with phase-detection coverage extending nearly to the edges of the frame, as well as the improved tracking interface and performance we first saw on the X-T4. We’ve found it’s a very capable AF system but may require some tuning to get the most out of it.
|Fujifilm includes a USB-C to headphone port adapter in the box with the X-E4 for audio monitoring while shooting video.|
The video on the X-E4 is a match for the X-S10, meaning it’s really solid. You’re getting DCI 4K/30p footage without a crop, F-Log recording (8-bit internally, 10-bit to an external recorder), impressive slow-motion in Full HD, and capture aids like zebra warnings. You also get both headphone and microphone ports, using the included USB-C to headphone adapter. But that lack of in-body image stabilization will mean that, for handheld footage, you’re going to want to make sure you pick up a stabilized lens to keep your shots steady.
How it compares
The X-E4 slots into a pretty competitive segment in the camera market; we consider its most direct competitors to be the Nikon Z50, the Sony a6400 and the Canon EOS M6 Mark II, all of which are within $50 USD of the X-E4’s MSRP. All of these options use APS-C sensors, and none offer in-body image stabilization.
|Fujifilm X-E4||Nikon Z50||Sony a6400||Canon EOS M6 Mark II|
|Sensor res.||26MP X-Trans||21MP||24MP||32.5MP|
|LCD size/res||3.0″ / 1.62M-dot||3.2″ / 1.04M-dot||3.0″ / 921k-dot||3.0″ / 1.04M-dot|
|EVF res / mag
|Burst w/AF||20 fps||11 fps||11 fps||14 fps|
|Log||F-Log (8-bit internal, 10-bit over HDMI)||No||S-Log (8-bit)||No|
|Mic / headphone socket||Yes / Yes (with adapter)||Yes / No||Yes / No||Yes / No|
|SD card speed||UHS-I||UHS-I||UHS-I||UHS-II|
|Battery life (LCD)||460 shots||320 shots||410 shots||305 shots|
|Weight||364g (12.8oz)||450g (15.9oz)||403g (14.2oz)||408g (14.4oz)|
As you can see, the X-E4 really offers a lot of bang for your buck in this market segment, coming in with at least competitive specs in every category (battery life is especially notable). It’s worth mentioning, though, that for another $150 USD, you can get into Fujifilm’s X-S10; that camera has very similar core features to the X-E4, but adds in-body image stabilization and a bigger grip. The tradeoff is that of course it’s a larger camera, and the ergonomics and handling are strikingly different.
Body and handling
Just as the X-E3 saw a slight diminishing of size and control points relative to the X-E2S, so does the X-E4 relative to the X-E3. You get a slightly smaller (though a touch heavier) camera body than the outgoing model. This is ostensibly for the purpose of being more pocket-friendly (though such a claim is obviously going to be pretty lens-dependent). With the new XF 27mm F2.8 R WR lens attached, the X-E4 is lighter than Fujifilm’s own fixed-lens X100V.
In use, we found that the camera itself is reasonably comfortable in the hand with just a wrist strap as long as you’re sticking to a compact lens. If you’re eyeing larger lenses, the optional MHG-X34 nor TR-XE4 thumb rest will help. Just don’t expect ultimate comfort from a camera whose shape resembles a large bar of soap.
|The X-E4 is the first X-E series camera to offer a tilting screen, which sits flush with the rear of the camera when folded away.|
But really, the X-E4 is a very attractive little camera. The faux leatherette looks and feels nice, the magnesium-alloy top plate is lovely and the camera body feels solid. The fold-flush rear screen is a real joy, and makes the X-E4 much easier to work with at high and low angles than its predecessor. A threaded shutter button is always a nice touch, and the dials have just the right amount of resistance.
Unfortunately, Fujifilm makes no claims of any weather resistance on the X-E4, despite doing so for its XF 27mm F2.8 R WR kit lens. On our test model at least, the ‘Menu/OK’ and ‘Disp/Back’ buttons on the rear plate are a little too mushy and a little too shallow. It’d also be nice if the shutter speed dial could spin 360 degrees like the exposure comp dial; once you hit ‘P’ or ‘B’, you can’t keep turning it.
We’re not personally sold on the disappearance of the ‘M-C-S’ (‘Manual,’ ‘Continuous’ and ‘Single’) focus mode control which was on the front of the X-E2. This switch was a quick way to adjust a major autofocus setting depending on your subject matter, and since Fujifilm’s autofocus system has historically benefitted from a bit more involvement on the part of the photographer in our testing, we’re sad to see it go.
At least you can now assign autofocus modes and area settings to a custom setting bank to assign to a button for quick toggling, but again, you’re low on buttons to which you can assign an ‘access custom settings banks’ function. The rear dial from the X-E3 has also been omitted, which does leave more room for your thumb, but again, it’s one less control point.
I wonder whether Fujifilm went a little too minimalist on the X-E4
The viewfinder is par for the course for this class of cameras, though not outstanding. The bigger issue is that, even though you’ll want to press the Drive/Delete button with your left thumb, you’ll almost certainly trigger the eye sensor to switch from the rear screen to using the EVF. It’s a pain. And while the camera doesn’t automatically switch to the EVF when you trigger the sensor with the screen tilted out, it does rotate the screen 180 degrees; the info display is flipped to seemingly prepare you for taking a selfie.
|The 2.36M-dot resolution of the X-E4’s viewfinder is par for the segment; some users might find the 0.62x magnification on the small side.|
Basically, we’re wondering whether Fujifilm went a little too minimalist on the X-E4. It took us a while to get it set up to where we could easily access all of the settings we want (and there are lots of things to assign to buttons, just not lots of buttons). In the end, we enabled the touch-swipe for custom functions to get a little more control, meaning you can swipe up, down, left or right on the rear screen to trigger a function. It works pretty well.
Lastly, Fujifilm’s Auto ISO behavior is unchanged, meaning that you can set upper and lower bounds on ISO values, and then either specify a minimum shutter speed threshold or select ‘Auto.’ But there’s still no way to bias ‘Auto’ to be faster or slower than half the focal length, as you can on most other competitors. On the other hand, you do get three banks of separate Auto ISO settings you can quickly swap between.
The X-E4 also has a new ‘P’ mode on its shutter speed dial. Selecting it will override whatever the lens’s aperture ring is set to, and will put the camera into the Program Automatic mode. You can accomplish the same thing by setting both the aperture and shutter speed dials to ‘A’.
Battery and storage
The Fujifilm X-E4 uses a familiar NP-W126S battery pack to achieve a CIPA-rated 460 shots per charge. As with most cameras, this is likely to be an underestimate in real-world use (how often do you shoot with flash and then immediately enter playback?), but it gives a reliable measure of comparability among competitive cameras.
This rating should easily get you through a weekend’s worth of casual shooting should you be on holiday (hopeful thoughts for the future). And, probably thanks to increased processing efficiencies, the X-E4’s rating puts it at the front of its pack in this regard. You can also charge the battery via the camera’s USB-C port.
The UHS-I slot means you won’t get any speed benefits if you use faster UHS-II cards
The X-E4 uses SD cards for storage; they’re inexpensive and ubiquitous, but the X-E4 only supports UHS-I speeds. You can of course use UHS-II cards in the camera, you just won’t see any performance benefit beyond a certain point.
Informal testing with a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I U3 card shows that you can shoot losslessly compressed Raw and Fine JPEG images for between 1 and 1.5 seconds of burst shooting at 20fps, and wait then a little under 10 seconds for the buffer to clear. Shooting JPEG-only gets you around 2.5 seconds of shooting before the buffer fills, and then it clears after around 8 seconds.
Our test scene is designed to simulate a variety of textures, colors and detail types you’ll encounter in the real world. It also has two illumination modes to see the effect of different lighting conditions.
The X-E4 uses the same 26MP APS-C sensor and quad-core X-Processor 4 as its flagship cousin, the Fujifilm X-T4, and is capable of the same outstanding image quality. Raw files show , competitive with other top APS-C cameras, though bested slightly by the higher-res EOS M6 II. at high ISOs are also comparable to the camera’s closest and best competitors.
from the X-E4 (shot using the ‘Provia / Standard’ profile) looks pleasing. The rendering of yellow tones in particular is spot-on; where some brands struggle with a slight greenish or orange hue in their yellows, Fujifilm does not. Greens and blues also look nicely saturated and accurate. Reds tones look accurate, but they aren’t quite as well-saturated as Canon, Sony or Nikon reds. are more saturated/pinker than Canon and Sony’s offerings, which could result in skin tones for some folks looking a bit off.
at lower ISOs is not quite as sophisticated as some of its competitors, namely the Sony. But at the X-E4 does a good job balancing noise reduction with detail retention.
The X-E4 offers excellent Raw dynamic range for its sensor size, providing ample processing latitude for post-work. It uses the same dual gain style sensor as the flagship X-T4 which switches its gain ‘mode’ when the ISO hits 800.
In the lower mode you get maximum DR, but Raw files that are a bit noisier when brightened than those shot natively using the upper gain mode. At the upper gain mode, the sensor prioritizes low noise levels, at the cost of some dynamic range.
Brightened ISO 160 images look a bit noisier than their native ISO 3200 output, but it’s not a huge difference. This suggests the camera is adding very little noise, even in the lower gain mode. In practical terms, this means you can lower your ISO when shooting high contrast scenes, as a means of reducing exposure/preserving highlights, without facing much of a noise penalty when lightening shadows in post. However, users who want the absolute cleanest noise levels from this camera should shoot at ISO 800.
The autofocus implementation, behavior and performance of the X-E4 is identical to that of the flagship X-T4. Users can choose from a variety of focus modes including a single point, a cluster of points, or the full AF region. In AF-C, a subject tracking mode gives users the ability to place an AF box over their chosen subject, initiate AF via shutter half-press and/or the ‘AFL’ button, and track said subject around the frame.
There’s also a face and eye-detect feature that can be turned on separately when using any of the AF modes. When a face is detected, a box will appear over it; a separate smaller box will appear over a detected eye. When multiple faces or eyes are detected in a scene, a tap of the AF joystick allows users to jump between them. Tapping the AF joystick away from a detected face/eye will also allow you to disengage face/eye detection and revert to the initially selected AF mode.
|Unlike some of the competition, Fujifilm does not currently offer an ‘Animal Eye AF’ mode. No problem, we photographed Belvedere using a single point in AF-C.
ISO 2500| 1/200 sec | F4 | XF 27mm F2.8 R WR
In most shooting scenarios, we found using a single point in AF-C to be the most reliable way to achieve critical focus. That said, for mostly static subjects, the subject-tracking AF mode also does a very good job in terms of reliability.
Face/eye detection also works reasonably well in most shooting scenarios, but this feature can occasionally give false positives, or shots that appear to have been captured sharp, but are in fact, slightly mis-focused. For casual users, this feature should be good enough. But if you’re a pixel peeper or portrait professional, we wouldn’t rely on it to nail focus every time.
When using a continuous burst to photograph fast-moving subjects, like athletes or wildlife, we also recommend using a single point or zone in AF-C – moved via AF joystick – to maintain focus. In our testing at both 8 fps (the top mechanical burst) and 20 fps (the top e-shutter burst), the X-E4 had no problem maintaining focus on a cyclist approaching the camera in a straight line, with a close to perfect hit rate.
In our above ‘weave’ test, we assess a camera’s AF tracking performance by having a cyclist weave toward the camera in a manner that is difficult for it to predict. In a similar fashion to the X-T4, the X-E4 struggles with hunting throughout the weave. This test was shot using a tripod-mounted XF 50-140mm F2.8 R WR lens at 135mm.
However, we had a less than perfect hit rate when photographing erratically moving subjects, approaching the camera, using the X-E4’s AF subject tracking mode.
While performing the above bike weave test, in which we challenge a camera to identify a subject and then use the correct focus points to follow and maintain focus, we observed the camera tended to get easily distracted by elements in the background – especially bright colors – jumping off our subject, before returning several shots later. We also noticed the X-E4 tended to be slightly behind our subject when using AF tracking. And while tweaking the camera’s ‘AF-C custom settings’ can lead to slight hit-rate improvements, for best results with fast/erratic subjects, we’d skip the AF tracking mode altogether and stick to a point or zone.
The X-E4 may not be an obvious choice for video work, given its rangefinder-style body, but it is actually quite capable. In terms of output, it can shoot oversampled DCI and UHD 4K video in 24 or 30 fps (30-minute cap on continuous capture). Full HD video can be captured at up to a whopping 240 fps.
The camera offers internal 8-bit Log capture and external 10-bit Log output (via the Micro-HDMI port) to a dedicated capture device (like an Atomos Ninja). For those wishing to avoid the fuss of color-grading in post, the Eterna/Cinema profile might be just what you need, offering flat contrast and rich tones.
AF modes are limited when shooting video, compared to stills. While you still get face and eye-detection for human subjects, the standard autofocus subject tracking mode – where you place an AF box over your subject and initiate AF to lock-on – is absent. Face and eye detect work ok, but can occasionally the camera will lose the subject, leading to a focus rack.
There’s no dedicated video record button, though one of the three custom buttons can be assigned to this function. To capture video out-of-the-box, you’ll need to switch to video mode via the ‘drive’ button and hit the shutter release. The body has a full-size microphone port and an included USB-C-to-audio jack provides support for audio monitoring; you can adjust audio levels and add wind or low cut filters from within the camera’s menus.
It’s worth reiterating that, unlike the its oh-so-similar SLR-style sibling, the X-S10, the X-E4 has no in-body image stabilization to aid in hand-held shooting (nor is there any form of digital IS). So if you’re already tempted by the X-E4, but like shooting video, the X-S10 may be a better choice for you.
Video quality from the X-E4 is identical to that of its siblings, the X-S10 and X-T30; which is to say, quite good.offers nice detail, though it is somewhat prone to moiré. looks excellent – whether shooting UHD or DCI – offering significantly more detail than the , a bit more detail than the , and similar amounts to cameras.
|What we like||What we don’t like|
Fujifilm has positioned the X-E4 as the X100V‘s twin with interchangeable lenses. But unlike previous generations of X-E and X100 cameras, this is not quite a fair positioning. The two share a lot of technology, but the X-E4 comes up a tad short next to its gold-award-winning sibling in several regards. The most notable are a lack of weather-sealing, a lower-resolution EVF, and a paring down of control points that at best, leads to a more straightforward shooting experience, and at worst, an occasionally frustrating one.
We wish Fujifilm hadn’t removed the front focus mode selector and rear dial found on its predecessor
The X-E4 does get a lot of things right, in terms of design. The 3″ tilting touchscreen is highly responsive and enjoyable to use, especially for street photography. And the 2.36M-dot EVF, while not jaw-dropping in resolution, should offer plenty of detail for most users. The camera is also quite handsome, not to mention compact, even if we found it rather slippery without its $90 accessory grip or $70 thumbrest. The paring down of control points left us frustrated, though. We wish Fujifilm hadn’t removed the front focus mode selector and rear dial found on its predecessor. We also wish it had more than just three physical custom buttons.
Converted from Raw in Adobe Camera Raw.
ISO 160 |F2.8 | 1/450 sec | Tokina 23mm F1.4
In terms of image quality output, the X-E4 is highly capable, thanks to its excellent pedigree. Image quality is a match for the flagship X-T4. Fujifilm’s latest X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 sensor is capable of excellent Raw files with good detail capture and lots of editing latitude. And Fujifilm JPEG profiles – which mimic classic film stocks – have long been a DPR staff favorite. The X-E4 offers a whopping 18, including ‘Classic Chrome,’ ‘Classic Negative’ and ‘Acros’ (to name some favorites).
The only important video-centric feature absent from the X-E4 is in-body image stabilization for hand-held shooting
Video-wise, the X-E4 is also highly capable with nicely detailed 4K output, including 8-bit Log capture internally and 10-bit Log capture to a dedicated capture device (via Micro-HDMI). Full HD video can be captured at up 240 fps, for all your super-slow motion needs. And you can plug in a microphone and headphones (the latter via USB-C to audio dongle). Arguably, the only important video-centric feature absent from the X-E4 is in-body image stabilization for hand-held shooting.
Out-of-camera JPEG shot using the ‘Astia/Soft’ film simulation.
ISO 160 | F2.8 |1/220 sec | Tokina 23mm F1.4
One notable area Fujifilm cameras tend to lag behind their closest competitors is autofocus subject tracking performance, and the X-E4 is no exception. For mostly static subjects, face and eye detection work well enough, as does the traditional subject tracking AF mode. But once you introduce movement, these modes become much less reliable. That said, AF performance using a single point or zone in AF-C works very well and the AF joystick is highly responsive.
We suspect the X-E4 is going to make a lot of photographers happy, especially those craving a near-pocket-size X-mount body with Fujifilm’s latest IQ performance
Ultimately, the X-E4 is a camera with a lot to offer and we suspect it is going to make a lot of photographers happy, especially those craving a near-pocket-size X-mount body with Fujifilm’s latest IQ performance. For those upgrading from other Fujifilm bodies, the lack of buttons will likely take some getting used to, but don’t let that be a deal-breaker. This is a camera anyone on staff at DPReview would be happy to grab for an afternoon of street photography or take on a long vacation – once that’s a thing again.
Compared to its peers
The X-E4’s nearest competitor is the Sony a6400, a camera with very similar specs but offering a very different shooting experience: Where the X-E4 is more hands-on, the a6400 encourages a more set-it-and-forget-it mindset. Both cameras are rangefinder-style in design, and while we prefer the touchscreen and control points of the X-E4, we find the autofocus system of the a6400 far more capable. Both cameras offer good image and video quality, and you’ll get great Raw files from both, but we find Fujifilm’s JPEGs more pleasing.
Another competitor with similar specs is the SLR-style Nikon Z50. Both it and the X-E4 are well-rounded cameras offering plenty of capability. We prefer the Nikon’s ergonomics and control points, but appreciate Fujifilm’s considerably larger family of native APS-C lenses. You’ll get a bit more resolution from the X-E4, but not an earth-shattering amount, along with slightly more detailed 4K. But your choice between these two may ultimately come down to preference between SLR- or rangefinder-style.
The Canon EOS M6 Mark II is also a natural competitor to the X-E4, sporting similar specs. The most notable difference: the Canon doesn’t have a built-in EVF, but it does offer an accessory unit for the hotshoe making it more expensive. Both are highly capable in the image quality department, though the Canon does offer more resolution. But on the video side, we much prefer the X-E4’s output and feature set. We think the Fufjilm is a better looking camera than the Canon, but appreciate that latter’s hardy grip and ample control points. But there’s a lot more native glass available for the X-E4 than the M6 II, and the X-E4 offers superior battery life.
The Fujfiilm X-S10 is also a sensible competitor to the X-E4. It’s essentially the same camera under the hood, but in an SLR-shaped body with a deeper, more comfortable grip, better controls, and in-body image stabilization. All that comes with a slightly higher price tag, though.
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